Has the New Cold War Begun?

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As a hot war in Ukraine looms, Russia and the West may be on the precipice of a long geostrategic struggle with strong echoes of the past.

  • If Russia invades Ukraine, the US and its NATO allies would not—despite inevitably high casualties—move to defend Ukraine militarily. But there’s little doubt what would happen next.
  • In addition to severe sanctions against Russia, the US and its European allies would almost certainly send additional troops and military equipment to the Baltic states and Eastern Europe.
  • They will do so to boost Europe’s defenses and dissuade Putin from more military action. But Putin is very likely to see it as a provocation. Tensions are likely to remain high for years.
  • For many, this scenario has strong echoes of the Cold War—the long struggle between the Soviet Union and US-led Western alliance that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
  • Some historians and analysts now argue the Cold War never ended, and only went on pause. Now, they say, Putin is pursuing his ultimate aim: To reassert Russian power over the former Soviet Bloc.
  • Neither the West nor Russia want full-scale war—the consequences would be unimaginably grave. But the renewed geostrategic power struggle is likely to define Europe’s politics for a long time.
The New York Times
The Atlantic

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